Chief Minister N Biren appealed to the state’s farmers to make use of the paddy fields by planting other vegetables after this year’s rice harvest and not to leave the paddy fields in Manipur unattended after the harvest season.
CM Biren was speaking as Chief Guest at the Distribution cum Demonstration Program of Farm Machineries and Implements under Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) organised by the Department of Agriculture at the City Convention Hall on Monday.
Asserting that farmers’ main concern is the lack of water sources during the off-season, the Chief Minister has set up a special subcommittee comprising Agriculture, IFCD, Horticulture, Minor Irrigation, etc. to deal with water shortages. The Chief Minister also said a toll-free number will be operated to help farmers who have their paddy fields ready for use after the rice harvest season.
Biren continued to urge farmers to heed his call and ensured that the government would ensure that farmers’ needs, including seeds and water, were met. He emphasized the need for water harvesting and highlighted the development of ponds in various locations as part of the Sarovar Mission.
Furthermore, the Chief Minister declared in his speech the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat, Self-reliant India, and said it would be actively implemented statewide in all areas. It also focuses on different sectors so that Manipur can contribute to this self-reliance movement, he said, and at the recently held Fish Mela, several types of fish, including local ones, are available and the State has also exported a variety of items, including black rice (Chakhao).
We’ve made progress under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, adding that it’s great that the funds are going directly to farmers’ accounts. The Chief Minister further stressed that Rs. 80 crores has been set aside to purchase local varieties of rice from farmers and make them available again to the people with central government subsidies.
CM Biren also emphasized the need to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers and instead encourage livestock and organic fertilizers at paddy fields in Manipur.
Agriculture Minister Thongam Biswajit said that when we look at why paddy fields in Manipur are being lost, we find that it is due to a lack of productivity and farmers looking for alternatives.
Now the government is promoting digital and natural farming and looking at ways to boost productivity and income for farmers by using technologies such as drones to save paddy fields in Manipur, he said.
The Minister further said that the Agriculture Department is all set to take up four types of demonstrations at the different parts of the State including natural farming methods using cow dung, organic farming through the use of vermicompost and others; using nano fertilizers and using fertilizers so that we can compare the production at different paddy fields in Manipur.
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Biswajit also urged farmers to avoid overuse of chemical fertilizers as it leads to several health problems, instead focusing on and promoting natural and organic farming in the paddy fields in Manipur.
Agriculture Commissioner RK Dinesh explained SMAM in his keynote address and said it is a centrally funded program by the Ministry of Agriculture and Family Welfare launched in 2014-2015.
SMAM’s main goal is to maximize the use of mechanization in agriculture, with available electricity per hectare of (approximately) 2 kW/ha in 2013-14 which is to be increased to 4.0 kW/hectare by 2022. He also explained how farmers can benefit from this scheme and the subsidies provided under it.
Chief Minister N Biren also inspected the Farm machinery and Implements and a demonstration of farm drones which are to be used at paddy fields in Manipur was showcased as part of the function.
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He tweeted, “Agricultural mechanization will not only enhance overall productivity but provide assistance to farmers in increasing crop yields as well as farmers’ income and subsequently improve the economy of the state.”
The function was also attended by Hill Area Committee Chairman Diganglung Gangmei, Thanga MLA T Robindro, Patsoi MLA Sapam Kunjakeswor (Keba), Churachandpur MLA LM Khaute, Lamlai MLA Kh. Ibomcha, Wangkhei MLA Th Arunkumar and Hiyanglam MLA Dr.Y Radheshyam.
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